What is an ovarian cystectomy?
An ovarian cystectomy is a surgery performed to remove one or more ovarian cysts from the ovaries. Ovarian cysts are sacs filled with fluids that are formed in or on the ovaries. The ovaries are small and oval-shaped glands that are located on either side of the uterus that produce female hormones and eggs. They maintain the health of the female reproductive system.
Ovarian cysts are relatively common as many women have ovarian cysts at some point in their life. They are usually painless, harmless, without symptoms, and vanish on their own without any treatment. However, an ovarian cyst becomes an issue when it persists for a long time and gets larger. It can cause symptoms such as persistent pelvic pain, painful bowel movements, abdominal swelling or bloating, and irregularities in the menstrual cycle. In case of a ruptured cyst, immediate medical attention is required as can have serious consequences.
Therefore, getting a regular examination of the pelvic area and knowing the symptoms indicating a potentially serious issue is crucial to maintaining your health.
What are the reasons for an ovarian cyst surgery?
Most ovarian cysts don’t show symptoms and disappear on their own. However, an ovarian cyst may need to be removed and surgery for an ovarian cyst may be advised in the following situations:
- When there is a dull or sharp pain in the pelvic or the lower abdomen on the side of the cyst.
- When the ovarian cysts are larger than 5 cm and ovarian growths are present in both ovaries.
- When an ovarian cyst does not vanish on its own and stays for 2 to 3 months or longer.
- An ultrasound exam suggests that a cyst is not a simple functional cyst.
- When there is ovarian growth but never had a menstrual period in the case of a young girl and has been through menopause in the case of a postmenopausal woman.
- When the doctor suspects the ovarian cyst of being malignant or cancerous.
What types of surgery are used to treat ovarian cysts?
The size of the ovarian cysts or growth, the patient’s age, and the possibility of malignancy determine the type of surgery or procedure performed. There are two types of ovarian cyst procedures that are usually carried out under general anesthetic. They are:
- Laparoscopic surgery
- Laparotomy or open surgery
- Laparoscopic surgery
The majority of ovarian cysts or growth can be removed using laparoscopy. Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique where a few small cuts or incisions are made in your lower abdomen. During this procedure, the doctor inserts a small device called a laparoscope into the abdomen to allow the surgeon to access the reproductive organs or ovaries. The doctor then removes the cyst through the tiny cuts or incisions in your skin. Once the cyst has been removed, the stitches will be used to close the incisions or cuts.The procedure usually takes 1 to 2 hours and most patients can leave the hospital the same day or the following day. If there are any complications or problems, the patient may need to stay longer in the hospital. Many people prefer laparoscopy because it is less painful and has a quicker recovery time and a short hospital stay. However, the doctor may need to switch to open surgery if the procedure cannot be done laparoscopically.
- Laparotomy surgery
A laparotomy procedure is performed when the ovarian cyst or growth is large and when the cyst is suspected to be cancerous. During this procedure, a single and bigger cut is made in the abdomen to remove the cyst. The removed cyst will be sent to a laboratory to be tested for cancer. In case it is cancer, the doctor may be required to remove one or both ovaries, the uterus, and some lymph nodes. The cuts or incisions will be stitched or stapled to close the opening. You may need to stay in the hospital for a few days after the procedure.
- Laparoscopic surgery
What are the risks of ovarian cystectomy?
Like any other procedure, this surgery also has a few small risks.
- May need to remove the ovary
- May lead to bleeding during surgery
- May result in infection of the surgical site
- Possible damage to surrounding organs
- May require further surgery
How to prepare for ovarian cyst removal surgery?
Before scheduling the appointment, the doctor will advise you to:
- Consult the anesthetist who will take a detailed history and discuss the anesthesia that is planned for the procedure.
- Discontinue certain medications that can raise the risk of bleeding during surgery
- Not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery.
- Bring someone along to drive you to and from the hospital since you will be under the influence of anesthesia
- Arrive at least two hours before your estimated start time for surgery
What happens after the surgery?
- Right after the ovarian cystectomy, patients may experience a sore throat due to anesthesia.
- Patients may also experience slight pain in their abdomen or at the surgical site for which pain medication will be prescribed.
- On the day of the surgery, the patients need to go on a liquid and soft diet. You can follow a normal diet the next day.
- The patients will be required to avoid all strenuous activities post-surgery for at least two weeks. Most patients generally recover within 6 to 8 weeks.
- The scar from the surgery will heal within a few weeks. But the recovery process is slower in the case of laparotomy surgery since the cut is bigger.
In case of infection, you might experience the following symptoms after leaving the hospital:
- Fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, heavy bleeding, or discharge from the incisions
- Vaginal discharge that is dark or smelly
- Excessive vaginal bleeding
- Severe pain in the abdomen that cannot be controlled with the medicine prescribed
- Contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms and if these symptoms are worsening.
You can visit Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre as our experts will enlighten you on all the treatment options you are eligible for with their potential risks and side effects. Our advanced laparoscopic techniques enable us to perform complex GYN procedures such as minimally invasive ovarian cystectomy and ensure you the best experience.
Dr. Shashi Arora (Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology)
Dr. Shashi Arora is the incumbent Head of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad. She is irrefutably the best Obstetrician & Gynecologist in Delhi-NCR and one of the best high-risk pregnancy doctors in India. With an experience of more than four decades, she has extensively performed 60,000+ deliveries to date with more than 85% normal deliveries. She specializes in all women-related issues including hysterectomy and advanced laparoscopy surgeries. Moreover, she has numerous publications in various Indian as well as international publications. She has varied experiences in high-risk obstetrics & management, complicated cesarean sections, open-gynae surgeries, preventive oncology, and family planning procedures.